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Evansville, Indiana
August 30, 1996     The Message
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August 30, 1996

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August 30, 1996 The Message- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana II I IIIII I IIIIII I II I I Nun offers 'Jumpstart' model for parish social ministry' BY MARY ETTA KIEFER Message Staff A group of 44 persons -- priests, pastoral ministers and others interested in parish so- cial concerns- gathered Au- gust 24 in the Catholic Center to hear Sister of St. Joseph Ann Amen, of Erie, Pa., present her model for revitalizing parish so- cial ministry. She calls it the Parish Care and Concern model, and it all began about 20 years ago in Brisbane, Australia. Sis- ter Amen polished her model 17 years of ministry in i: Australia, returning to her com- munity in Erie, where she has her model already at work in 33 parishes, with more than 4,500 volunteers functioning in the program. Sister Amen works from her diocesan office, and her bishop is enthusiastic about the hoping to see it working i m every parish. Her manual,  dumpstart your parish social ministry with Parish Care and. :: Concern, published in 1996 by : Catholic Charities of Erie, has been distributed in 24 states :and in Canada, without the ben- efit of any advertising. The man- ual was used in her presentation the Catholic Center. The model parallels in intent and purpose the National Con- ference of Catholic Bishops' doc- ument, Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social ! Mission of the Parish, published in 1994. The model is "a means through which parishioners can continue the servant ministry of Christ... (it) is an example of how parishioners volunteer to use of their God-given tal- !ents and gifts to meet some of the social welfare needs of the parish ." Sister Amen warned, "Remember that this is Gerri Barnes, left, of St. John Church, Newburgh, and Jeanette Knapp, right, of St. Mary Church, Evansville, use morning break-time to discuss with Sister Ann Amen some ideas about how their parishes might implement features of the Parish Care and Concern model. Sister Amen presented her plan for revitalizing parish social ministry in a work- ' shop August 24 at the Catholic Center. -- Message photo by Mary Etta.Kiefer, OSB a prayer-based model. It won't work without that strong prayer base." Parish Care and Concern is an umbrella for other parochial organizations, not a replacement for any of them. It operates cost- free, and volunteers who partici- pate after initial training do not find themselves attending meet- ings. "Not once in all my years with this model have I heard a volunteer complain of being over- worked." Sister Amen told the group, "The time is right! People want to give of themselves; they just don't want to go to meet- ings." Here's how it works: The model is presented first to the pastor, and with his ap- proval, to the parish pastoral council. Their approval i s essen- tial, and if it is received, a steer- ing committee is appointed: six- to-10 persons of long-term parish membership who are aware of the needs of the parish. A chair- person is selected from amor, g them, not necessarily the pastor. This group then researches the needs and resources, visually as- sessing the neighborhood, per- haps "buttonholing people after Mass" or visiting with them in the market, and using every other means to acquaint them- selves with the variety of needs and talents in the community. The committee and the parish must consider that all who live within the parish boundaries are their neighbors, regardless of re- ligious affiliation, race, economic status, hfestyle or opinions. Thin consideration requires tolerance of differences. As Sister Amen puts it, "Acceptance is necessary, but accepting doesn't mean ap- proving." Need is need, wherever it is found. This committee will probably meet three times. Two major coordinators are appointed, selected by the pas- tor and the steering committee. These persons, usually lay per- sons, may be a couple, retired persons, or a mixture. They will keep records of all volunteers' names and the services which they perform. Programs differ with the parish, and may change even within the parish from year to year. Policies are established on the kind of jobs to accept; for example, perhaps replacing a washer in a leaky faucet, but not re-plumbing a house; providing temporary assistance (trans- portation or light housekeeping, babysitting) for someone recov- "ering from an injury or illness, but not providing full care for the person indefinitely. Many other items of concern must be han- dled, such as donations, liability insurance and limits on distance for transporting people served. The establishment of policies and procedures is a necessary measure to smooth operation. A volunteer sheet reflecting the needs within the community is distributed at Masses, and an explanatory talk given by the pastor. The pastor will instruct that the sheets, completed in the pews, be folded and placed in the collection basket. The assembly will give thanks that God has given the gifts to respond to these needs in their parish. Cards are prepared listing the services offered, identifying the coordinators an. d how to reach them. On the back of the card can be the parish Mass sched- ule. Sister Amen showed a video with profiles of the Parish Care and Concern model in a variety of locations and conditions. Pas- tors and coordinators related their experiences in providing these services, using the model in parishes of 300 families as suc- cessfully as in urban churches of 1700 families. She affirms that it works in poor and affluent parishes, urban, suburban, and rural churches equally well. Sister Amen admits to feeling overwhelmed sometimes by the acceptance and success accorded her model universally. She told the participants, "I would be amazed if it weren't the work of the Spirit, but it is! It has to be!" Her parting request was to hold her in prayer. As long as you're praying, I know you'll re- member me. You'll say, "Amen."  Jim Collins, Director of Catholic Charities for the Dio- cese of Evansville, is pleased with the results of the work- shop, and believes that some of the parishes represented will use the Parish Care and Con- cern model. He has pledged the Catholic Charities staff to sup- port any parish wishing to es- tablish the model. For more in- formation, call Kristel Riffert at the Catholic Charities office, (812) 423-5456. The manual, called Jumpstart your parish social ministr:y with Parish Care and Concern, is a blueprint for this model, and serves as a complete training manual for volunteers. The man- ual may be ordered from Parish Social Ministry, Catholic Chari- ties, St. Mark Catholic Center, P.O. Box 10397; Erie, PA 16514- 0397. Cost is $15 and $2 ship- ping and handling, and a check should accompany the order. Nativity Church: Tithing part of parish commitment By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor "The Nativity Church family is a stewardship parish," wrote Father Henry Kuykendall, pas- tor, to Sister Jane Nesmith, pas- coordinator at St. John Evansville. That's how explained why Nativity was g a check for $1,000 to John. "We call our members to sac- and tithing 10 per- to God Church, Diocese, , the needy, mis- and worthy causes," Fa- thor Kuykendall wrote. "Our parish is committed to tithing 10 percent." Nativity Church, through its Outreach Commission, has con- tributed more than $20,000 to various ministries and causes over the past fiscal year. Among the contributions are $4,100 to St. Vincent de Paul to help the poor of the southeast side of Evansville; $4,000 to the Evansville Christian Life Cen- ter, for its ministry, "Love for Life," for newborn babies; and $1,000 to the House of Bread and Peace, a shelter for wombn and children in Evansville. An- other contribution of $1,540.56 went to the deaf ministry. Parish contributions also went to special world and national col- lections, for a van to help trans- port elderly and other members of the parish in wheelchairs to Mass and parish events, the Christmas Store coordinated by Catholic Charities, and for vari- ous other causes and activities in the community. The total of contributions since the beginning of the fiscal year, Sept. 1, 1995, .was $20,491.37. Members of the Outreach Commission are Warren Crook, who recently presented the check to St. John Church, Evansville, for $1,000, Sandy Schenck, Jo Schaefer and Father Kuykendall. In his letter to Sister Nesmith, Father Kuykendall pointed out that Nativity "lost our school in 1972 and most ofour school fam- ilies. We struggled to pay bills, seldom paying on our debt to the diocese. Yet we survived. In the last few years we paid off our debt, repaired much of our facil- ity, put money in savings and began to accept our responsibil- ity to tithe to worthy causes." The letter was also signed by Crook in his capacity as Chair- man of the Outreach Commis- sion. The pastor and the chairman expressed hope that others would follow suit. "St. John has been a beacon for many years, a living, breath- ing reminder of the beauty, the wonder and diversity within the Body of Christ," the letter said. "We hope our sharing of $1,000 will, in a small way, let you know that we support your ministry. We hope others will add their prayers and support." ,hr Continued from page 1 for a short period. Because of tube in her throat, she could speak, but wrote short notes. "I want to see sisters," she When she was visited by of her Missionaries of Char- she scribbled another note said, "Sisters, God bless lIother Teresa has been "a patient, but difficult she tries to get and move," said Sen. 'e i  Indian Prime Minister H.D. ,ell eve Gowda and Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta joined the country's parliament and several socio-political lead- ers in wishing Mother Teresa a speedy recovery. "The whole nation is worried about the health and well-being of Mother Teresa," said P.A. Sangma, speaker of the lower house of parliament, marking her birthday. Get-well wishes from world leaders flooded the motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation that Mother Teresa started to help the poor and needy. Pope John Paul II sent Mother Teresa get-well wishes that were conveyed on his behalf by telephone to the papal nuncio in India, who passed on the pope's wishes to the order. The pope thanked God for Mother Teresa's "service to the poorest of the poor." Cardinal Jaxnes A. Hickey of Washington issued a statement calling for prayers for Mother Teresa. ,Just as Mother Teresa has opened her heart to the sick and the dying, so now we open our hearts to her in prayer," the statement said. A priest at an Aug. 26 gath- ering at Missionaries of Charity first time since she was hospi- talized, Mother Teresa re- quested Communion. People of various religions prayed in the Missionaries of Charity house and several places of worship in Calcutta and elsewhere, said a Mission- aries of Charity spokeswoman. One Muslim went to the house, put down his prayer mat at the foot of the crucifix in the chapel corridor, knelt down fac- ing Mecca and prayed fervently for Mother Teresa, the spokes- woman said. Day and night prayer vigils were held in all Missionaries of Charity houses, said the spokes- woman, adding, "We are confi- dent that our prayers for her re- iH i i t i i Mother Teresa, who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, has been widely acclaimed as a liv- ing saint. In April, she was hospitalized after she fell and fractured her collarbone. In 1989, Mother Teresa re- ceived a pacemaker, and in late December 1991 she underwent angioplasty. In 1993, she was hospitalized for several days after a fall in which she broke three ribs. Even after health problems led her to resign as head of the Missionaries of Charity in 1990, her order re-elected her as su- perior. She maintained a heavy travel schedule, visiting her order's house3 for the poor, sick headquarters in Calcutta said eovery will be heard; it has and dying in India and around that the previous day, for the happened before." the world.